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Total Bitumen Join Forces with French Engineering School

First published in the July 2016 issue of Quarry Management as Training for the Future

Total Bitumen join with prestigious French engineering school École des Ponts and Coursera to develop Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)

It is a well recognized fact within the construction industry, particularly within the Highways sector, that there has been a drain of experience at all levels of the supply chain. From the client specifying the jobs, through the contractors applying the material to the asphalt manufacturers and the raw material suppliers, there has been a loss of expertise that cannot be instantly replaced.

Whilst it is true that experience can be extremely valuable, it is also true that it can, potentially, be a barrier to development and innovation. Experience can mean that we have one year’s experience repeated many times over. So, rather than looking at the current experience deficiency as a problem, it should be considered as a great opportunity to train up-and-coming talent in a more focused, factually based arena, where exchange of information and knowledge between the different segments of the industry can be extremely powerful.

There is a fantastic opportunity to not only fill the skills gap that has occurred as new money has been allocated to the roads infrastructure, but to provide key factual knowledge rather than run the risk of passing on anecdotal experience which may or may not be tainted with unintentional bias.

With this in mind, Total have joined together with the prestigious French engineering school École des Ponts, and the online training platform Coursera, to develop an online training course called ‘Mastering bitumen for better roads and innovative applications’. This Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) opens up the learning opportunity to a broad-based audience in all segments of the construction industry, to better understand the scientific, technical and economic fundamentals of bitumen and its applications.

The course consists of a series of short videos, in English, with an approximate total length of four-and-a-half hours, presented by 19 different experts from around the world, and organized in four chapters, designed to be digested at the rate of a chapter a week. The overall course is equivalent to four days of training.

Jean Francois Corte, general secretary of the World Road Association (PIARC), who also teaches at École des Ponts, said: ‘During four weeks, leading experts in bitumen will bring you their knowledge and experience to build a strong understanding of today’s realities and new perspectives on the future of bitumen.’

‘The learners are completely free to work at the rhythm that suits them best,’ added Laurent Docet from Ponts Formation Conseil.

Participation in the course itself is completely free of charge and can be reached at: www.coursera.org/learn/mastering-bitumen

Total Bitumen say there is no doubt that this platform provides a great opportunity for new or experienced personnel, whether engineers, operatives or technicians, to gain a wider understanding and appreciation of the contribution that bitumen makes to this extensive industry.

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